Aman Bhatnagar, Co-founder, NebulARC Technologies shares in his interview that classroom lectures & faculty mentoring received at Great Lakes exposed him to the idea of entrepreneurship

Q&A

  • Please tell us about NebulARC Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

NebulARC is a tech startup solving the most pertinent problem of lack of supply chain visibility across various industries. Via our IoT-driven, AI-enabled product, we are enabling the businesses to enhance their operational efficiency & reduce the losses due to lack of real-time insights across the supply chain, thereby, leading to transformation of the supply chains into profit centers. We are a small team of 12 technocrats with founding team having total industry experience of 50+ years and have Indian Navy as one of our first customers. We are proud to be the digital transformation enablers for the defense warriors of India.

  • What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

My inspiration for entrepreneurship was a combination of both – working around & learning from some good leaders at Knowlarity & some pure good luck. While working at Knowlarity, I interacted with many former entrepreneurs day in, day out. All were heading one or the other verticals at the company and while working as a Data Product Manager, I would chat with them about their journey and their success & failure stories along with the inputs about the new product I was working on. Then, there was Mr. Ambarish Gupta, our CEO at Knowlarity. Seeing him work meticulously to solve every problem was a boon for me. I understood all the small vagaries of entrepreneurship by observing the way he handled his daily activities.

My luck came after almost 3 years, having left Knowlarity & working on Supply chain problems of US based MNCs as an Analytics Lead Product for a startup. As luck would have it, out of nowhere, I met my current Co-founder, Alok Sharma at a common forum. He was also trying to solve supply chain problems for his clients. We exchanged our ideas and clicked instantly and we decided to work together. Had he not agreed, I think I would have had to look out for support for a longtime & may not have gone ahead with this idea instantly. So, on 12th March, 2018 NebulARC was born & we set out to bootstrap our way & earn success the hard way.

  • How did your Great Lakes experience help you in your entrepreneurial journey?

I was exposed to Entrepreneurship first time at Great Lakes. There were four aspects of my Great Lakes journey that have made a big impact on my short entrepreneurial journey till date –

1. Guest/Industry Lectures & my stint as a Placement Committee member– I still remember, our very first Guest Lecture by Mr. Aloke Bajpai from ixigo.com. Listening to him that day laid foundation for entrepreneurship within me. The foundation became stronger each day while interacting with all the brilliant industry faculties (most of them entrepreneurs) either during guest lectures, as course faculties or during my interaction as a Placement Committee member.

2. Brilliant Resident Faculties– The most important part of GLIM for me was the knowledge I gained from our superb resident faculties especially Himadri Sir, Uma Sir & Bappa Sir. Being from the tech background, I actually have gained all business knowledge by listening to these brilliant professors at GLIM and now, I am using their inputs on day-to-day basis.

3. The Course Design – During that 1 year, the MBA with 8 trimesters was fast, hectic & tiring. But now when I look back at those days, I think all the aspects of 1 year program prepared me for this entrepreneurial journey – the time management, prioritizing things, to persevere & solve real life business problems, to learn fast – act fast and so on.

4. My fellow Vikings of PGPM’15 batch – I learnt a lot from my fellow Great Lakers of PGPM’15 batch. The cultural understandings, our camaraderie during both success & failures, the group studies, the late night parties & then 8 am classes – all these things have helped me to fight my way through this short entrepreneurship journey.

  • What are the skills essential to become an entrepreneur?

I think the most important skill is perseverance. One can be brilliant at business skills, tech skills etc. that enable you to excel in your day-to-day job as a manager or a corporate employee but if one wants to be an entrepreneur then he/she must be ready to persevere with their goals even during hard times.

The journey seems exciting at first – you are your own boss, you can control every step, you can flaunt being an entrepreneur etc. but soon down the line you understand the reality. No monthly salary, no backups, product not shaping up as fast as you want, lack of resources but need to excel in output – all these issues lead to frustration & damaged morale. At that time, it’s your perseverance to fight on, the faith & having patience with yourself & your goal that drives you forward.

As this famous dialogue in The Matrix Revolution between NEO & Agent Smith goes –

Agent Smith : Why, Mr. Anderson? Why, why, why? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?

Neo : Because I choose to.

  • What advice would you give to Great Lakers?

I would advise the Great Lakers –

1. to learn both inside & outside the class – from everyone around you in college

2. be active & participate as much as you can (in class, committees, competitions, seminars etc.)

3. focus on learning rather than scoring marks, each day of this journey will help you explore new things and will enable you to find your way to success, so just persevere & keep learning

Above all this, enjoy your 10 months at college as for most of you, this will be the last time you will be in a formal educational institution & may not get this opportunity again to enjoy close to 300 days with no worries of responsibilities & work pressure.

  • How do you spend your free time?

I read books or listen to them and watch movies in whatever free time I get. I actually am a big movie buff and try to watch at least one movie (laptop or theatre) every week.

Senior Data Scientist Yeshwanth Babu talks about his experience of providing Data Science Consulting to Tech and Retails giants in Silicon Valley


Yeshwanth Babu,
Senior Data Scientist – Global Consulting
Fractal Analytics
MBA’ 13

Find out more in the interview below, where he talks about his experience of providing Data Science Consulting to Tech and Retail giants in Silicon Valley.

Q&A

  • Please tell us about your typical day at work as Senior Data Scientist.

My typical day at work starts with me looking at my project tracker – a simple document where I keep track of my short and long term projects. At any point in time, I am working on one long term project and one or two short term analysis type projects. I am also responsible for the performance of my team of 4 Analysts.

Steps in my work involve:-

  1. breaking down an abstract problem into actionable sub problems with goals
  2. extracting and cleansing the data
  3. doing extensive Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA)
  4. writing optimized and scalable code to build models
  5. measuring performance or arriving at inference
  6. finally presenting the results to business stakeholders
  • You have been working in Data Science Analytics consulting field from past 8 years. What advice would you give to students aspiring to work in this field?

Data Science consulting gives you opportunities to work on diverse set of problems. In my last 4 years, I have almost worked with most of the tech and retail giants in the Silicon Valley. You get to work with the best minds in their respective domains, but here is the catch, you are always expected to bring something new to the table. In my experience, I always felt that many a time clients hired one of us so we could provide them a fresh perspective. As a consultant you are paid by the hour, hence you always have to be on your toes, be extra prepared for the meetings. All in all you always have to be a step ahead than the rest of your product team members.

Last 4 years consulting for 10 different fortune 100 companies and 3 different emerging and high potential start- ups in the bay area taught me three great mantras-

  1. Fail Fast → Philosophy of incremental development. Cut losses when something isn’t working and quickly pivot to something new.
  2. Move Fast → Let’s say a particular problem deals with 5 lines of businesses (LOB’s) and let’s say lob A and B alone account for 85% of the business and lob A alone accounts for 60% of the revenues. I / My team would immediately go after LOB A, let’s say building a forecasting model to predict demand – supply in that lob or building an inference model to understand the $ value of a customer moving through different funnel stages in that lob. My point being solve for that 60% module, validate and report results. So that the business stakeholders have something to hold on to or plan for at least for that lob in the short term while you try to figure out the entire problem and solve for the same.
  3. Ask the right questions and always question the status quo.
  • How is working in US different than working in India?

I get to work with a diverse set of people in the US. Diversity in a team / company has huge benefits. I have been on projects where data scientists and behavioral scientists have worked together. I had the opportunity to have worked with a head chef on scenario planning regarding which cuisines the culinary team should go for on which days of the week to maximize coupon sales in the office kitchens. So to summarize in one word – Diversity.

  • What role did Great Lakes play in shaping your career?

I owe a tremendous lot to my Professors at Great Lakes. Every single class in the curriculum, right from Statistics to Economics to Ethics to Risk Management was important. I specifically want to thank a few of them whose classes I enjoyed thoroughly.

  1. Prof. Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay – Bappa sir as we call him. I adore him for his simplicity, he instilled in us one important thing – “Learning from First Principles”. First Principles thinking enables you to discover unconventional insights based on fundamental truths. We basically boil things down to fundamental truth and then reason up from there.
  2. Prof. T.N. Swaminathan – When the startup I joined post my graduation was going through some tumultuous times. I wrote to Prof Swaminathan saying I was finding it difficult to go after the positions / roles I aspired for, because my work experience was less. He immediately opened up his contacts. That was a pleasant gesture from him. He didn’t have to personally vouch for me but he did, getting the right opportunity at the right time is very difficult many a times, Prof Swaminathan gave me one and I utilized it to the fullest then.
  3. Prof Veeravalli’s class on Entrepreneurship was important at many levels. If your client is a startup or a new strategic business unit in a big firm, many a time you don’t have huge volumes of data. Your thinking needs to be a bit different in these scenarios. The metrics you go after for optimizing or predicting become much more basic. His classes already taught us these things so I didn’t have to learn it the hard way.
  • What advice would you give to Great Lakers?

I would advise them to go after the roles one desires or the ones that give them immense pleasure instead of just looking at the pay-packet size. The lessons from the curriculum and the experiences you earn will always come in handy both in the short and long term.

  • What do you do in your free time?

I developed an interest for Chess late in my life. I am currently ranked around ~1950 levels in rapids. I also play tennis on the weekends.

Clavell Santiago rates excellent communication and presentation skills as essentials for a successful sales career.

Clavell Santiago
MBA’18
Area Sales Manager
Coffee Day Beverages, Mumbai

In the interview below, Clavell Santiago talks about life- long learning lessons he learnt at Great Lakes Gurgaon and he guides students on making best of their MBA journey. He is also a professional violinist. Read out to know more about Clavell’s journey.

Questions

  • Please tell us about your role at Coffee Day Beverages

I am currently responsible for the HoReCa segment for Coffee Day Beverages in Mumbai. The role includes Key Account and Distributor Management. Since Mumbai is the hub of various corporate offices, I also manage Pan India Accounts. Apart from this, I look after new product launches and work on the marketing mix within the segment.

  • What suggestions would you give to students aspiring for sales profiles

Sales is not easy.It requires a high degree of discipline.For a student aspiring to be in sales,he/she should be ready to handle rejection,initially this is the most difficult part of the job. Moreover,one has to be “Prepared” all the time,the market place is very competitive and in order to be ahead of competition being relevant and knowledgeable is the key to success.

  • What are the life – long learning lessons you learnt at Great Lakes

Every day at GLIM was a learning of a new sort, be it from my peers or the professors. But the most valuable lessons I learnt was from my interaction with Dr. Jones who was my mentor for the Live Project. He made me realize that even if you have the best content, but you do not present is effectively then it is of no use. I am a strong believer of this, and I also ensure my team follows this mantra in every aspect of our business communication.

  • You are handling a team at Coffee Day Beverages. What are the key skills that a good team leader should possess?

I believe that a good team leader should master the art of communication; this is a key driver towards success because at every stage your team members look up to you for direction and motivation. Further, the ability to innovate is an important skill. In today’s work environment, it is essential to lead by example and work with the team to find new ways to be more effective.

  • One quote/belief you follow in life

“Sometimes the most important life lessons are the ones we end up learning the hard way”

  • What advice would you like to give to Great Lakers

Make the most of your time at college, please don’t get too comfortable within your hostel rooms. The best part of college is that no one will ever judge you and you can afford to make mistakes, so yeah JUST KEEP MAKING MISTAKES!

  • What do you do in your free time ?

I am a professional violinist, and I do a few gigs whenever possible. I am currently also working on a solo music project which I plan to finish in the next 3 months.

From interning at Jabong to heading logistics for 5 countries at Namshi in a span of 4 years, Robin Rajan talks about building a fast track career

Robin Rajan
MBA’15
Head of Logistics, Namshi.com

Find out what Robin Rajan says about receiving life changing mentoring at Great Lakes

Questions

  • You are heading logistics at Namshi.com. How has been the journey so far?

The last few years have been fun. I was an unmotivated, average backbencher in school, and I somehow scraped through engineering after repeating multiple papers. It was only at Great Lakes, I realized the impact that great teachers can have on your motivation to learn and subsequently, I topped my Major. My career since then has shifted to the fast lane. Progressing from interning at Jabong to heading logistics for 5 countries at Namshi in a span of 4 years, I get a high from creating opportunities and proactively doing bigger and better things every day; it’s addictive.

  • To whom do you owe your success?

First and foremost, credit goes to my parents who gave me the opportunity and pushed me to focus on education. Secondly, the enthusiasm of the faculty at Great Lakes really did change me. It was invigorating to have professors who answered questions and from whose classes you’d actually learn something. They gave me hope. Thirdly, I was lucky enough to be molded by a few strong mentors at various companies. The education must never end.

  • Please share one belief/quote that you follow in your life.

“Your network is your net worth.” I first heard it from Dr. Bala. It took me a few years after Great Lakes to fully assimilate the profundity of this statement. The best professional opportunities in life do indeed come from your network.

  • Share a few words of advice for future Great Lakers.

Avoid trapping yourself into thinking “This subject isn’t relevant to me because I’m planning to get a job in XYZ” or “How is this subject ever going to help me”. I’m here to tell you that if you truly are ambitious about career growth (and aren’t doing an MBA simply to embellish your profile – in which case, party away), then every single thing you learn at Great Lakes will help you in your management career. Grab that first bench, listen attentively and devour what’s being taught. Even if you don’t directly apply some of the methods, later in your career, it will help you think more broadly and holistically about the alignment between the company’s goals, how different functions within a company operate and what’s the best way to spend your time contributing. In a highly competitive job market, knowledge separates the future leaders from the pack.

  • How do you like to spend your free time?

I’m either Youtubing at home trying to learn something new or reading non-fiction or researching my next travel destination.Life is short and there is too much wonder in this world. Every moment counts.

Business Analyst, Ayushi Maheshwari dedicates her success to lessons taught by Great Lakes faculty

Ayushi Maheshwari, MBA’15
Business Analyst, Cognizant Consulting, London

In a Q&A below find out what Ayushi Maheshwari has to talk about her experience of working in London and her journey of working in a consulting domain

Q&A

  • Please tell us about your role at Cognizant Consulting, London.

I am working as a Business Analyst with Cognizant Consulting-Insurance practice for almost 4 years now. I am leading a specific line of business for one of the largest Insurance Companies in UK and Europe. My role mainly involves stakeholder management, requirements gathering, gap analysis, business planning, project management and a lot of ‘talking’. 🙂 Having worked with different teams from UK, Latin America, Europe and Australia and after facing varied challenges in terms of culture, language and technology, the journey has been nothing short of a brilliant experience so far with every step shaping me becoming better professionally and personally.

  • What are the life- long learning lessons your MBA journey at Great Lakes has taught you?

Great Lakes has acted as a catalyst in shaping my career path. The one year intense programme nurtured all of us to be always business ready and presentable. Being in the consulting space, I now specifically appreciate our Business Consulting lessons where I learnt to ask questions, always. Similarly, being on the business side of an IT project taught me the importance of asking ‘why’ rather than ‘how’ and that is indeed a key mantra which I will always remember.

  • How is it different working in UK than in India?

Working in UK is very different and quite an experience, I must say. Working directly with the clients helps in gaining a lot of exposure and polishes one’s personality and customer handling skills. We get to interact and meet so many different people from different cultures, profession and roles. Working in UK has taught me to be more open about my thoughts and how building client relationships go a long way. Also one thing that UK teaches you is to be ON time always. Be it train, meeting or a movie, you have to be ‘on time’.

  • Please share one belief/quote that you follow in your life.

If you do not step ‘forward’, you are always in the same place.

  • Share a few words of advice for future Great Lakers.

All I would say to future Great Lakers is just to follow your heart and never settle for ‘higher salary’ but a role you don’t like. Hang in there if for some time and things will fall into place if you choose a career you love. I believe graduation (Engineering, Medicine, Arts, Commerce etc.) is what your parents or friends choose for you but MBA is always what you choose to do. With amazing people in Great Lakes Gurgaon like Umashankar  Sir, Bappaditya Sir, VP Singh Sir and others, you can be assured to get the right guidance always. Heaps of assignments, sleepless nights, presentations, guest lectures, hostel parties and ‘open book exams’, everything will be worth it. Been there, done that!

  • How do you like to spend your free time?

I am a travel freak and best part about being in UK is the ease of travel. I have been to almost 10 different countries till now and every place has left me (and my Instagram page!), craving for more 🙂 Other than travel, cooking is the next thing that de-stresses me. A good plate of food after a horrible day at work, nothing like it! I like to try different cuisines but ‘chaat’ or street food items are my ultimate delights, both in preparing and eating 🙂  

Recipient of awards like Promising Star 2018 and Emerging Professional 2018 at Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance, Vikas Kumar shares his experience of studying at Great Lakes Gurgaon

Vikas Kumar, Branch Manager – Sales Leadership Program, Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurane

Questions

1.Please tell us about your role at Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance

Currently I am working in the capacity of Branch Manager in the agency vertical of Aditya Birla Life Insurance at Sasaram, Bihar. In this role, I have to manage agency business sourced through IRDAI certified insurance Agents. This role also involves Retail Sales, Agency Development, Team Management and Sourcing Business, keeping all the regulations by IRDAI in place. The branch I am handling is the No. 1 branch in the region and comes under top 3 branches in the zone

2. Recently you were recognized for your contribution at Birla Sun Life Insurance, please tell us about the award.

I was bestowed with two awards by Aditya Birla group in 2018. The details of the awards are as follows:

Aditya Birla Capital-Promising Star 2018

Last year in July, I was recognized by Aditya Birla Capital for exemplary work at ABSLI. Apart from achieving targets at different parameters, Sasaram branch acquired place under top 3 branches and country’s top 10 branches in FY 17-18 from ranking of 250+ in FY 16-17. This award was presented to me by Aditya Birla Capital Chief Executive, Mr. Ajay Srinivasan on the occasion of Aditya Birla Capital Day at Jaipur.

Aditya Birla Award-Emerging Professional of the Year 2018

The second award that I received was for stupendous work at ABSLI at different parameters keeping values and ethics of ABG at first place. The Emerging Professional has a consistent track record of delivering superior results, using effective methodologies to plan and execute the role, and displays perseverance and intellectual integrity at the work place. A self-starter and high appetite for taking risks this person displays high levels of energy and initiative and is a willing participant in any initiative and goes the extra mile to accomplish organizational objectives. This award was presented by Chairman of ABG Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla at Aditya Birla Awards 2018 at Hyderabad

3. What are the life- long learning lessons your one year MBA at Great Lakes taught you?

The kind of environment Great Lakes Gurgaon provides helps a lot in the real corporate world. The speedy course in 11 months requires a lot of mental strength to sustain and same is required in corporate world as you will always have pressure to achieve more and more particularly in SALES. Great Lakes also taught me to be a multitasker (eating, enjoying and doing extracurricular activities while studying and making assignment & PPTs) and same is required in Sales as you need to be available 24X7 for customers as well as advisors while managing your personal life.

4. Please share one belief/quote that you follow in your life.

Uncertainty offers the biggest opportunity.  Stay Unsettled

5. Share a few words of advice for future Great Lakers.

I would like to tell my fellow Lakers, this precious time of 11 months is not only about classroom teachings and back to back to lectures but it also teaches you a lot about the life which is going to stay with you till the age you retire. Life is all about maintaining balance between your professional and personal life and you have to prioritize in such a way that everything falls in place. So enjoy the ride and buckle up for the coming days.   

6. How do you like to spend your free time?

A wise man said “Once you taste excellence, you never settle for mediocracy” and knowledge is the best weapon to achieve it. I work in the investment domain where the biggest asset is your knowledge upgradation. So, in my free time I like to learn about the different financial instruments. 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vikaskumar01

Great Laker Aditya Vats advices students on Live Projects

  Aditya Vats- MBA ‘16

                                                        Senior Manager – Sales and BD, Happay

“Don’t hesitate to experiment, you never know where your true potential lies till the time you do not move out of silos”, advices Aditya Vats to the present and future Great Lakers. He also gives credits to Great Lakes students for excelling in the live projects allocated by Happay.

Q) Please talk about your job role at Happay?

I am currently working as Senior Manager Sales and Business Development for the Northern region. My role primarily involves direct sales, channel management, developing and nurturing partnerships for driving top line for the company. I am also responsible for team management & enablement activities for the Associate BDs and new joinees, respectively.

Q) Happay engages management students for Live Projects. How has been your experience of working with Great Lakes students?

Live Projects allocated by Happay usually comprise of the teething problems the business is facing in its given construct. The students are then required to come up with possible solutions & strategies around solving the business challenge via various primary and secondary research mechanisms. Great Lakes students have consistently helped the management to drive key strategy decisions which is why we always come back to campus every year to recruit the best of the talent for our organisation.

Q) Any advice for current batch students who are planning to apply for live project this year.

I advice the students not to choose a Live Project just because of the brand/ organisation with which it is associated. The problem statement should be something that is in sync with the passion and the area of expertise a candidate wishes to work in.

Q) What are the life- long learning lessons your one year MBA at Great Lakes taught you?

The one year program taught me that if you focus on results, you will never change. However, if you focus on change, you will get the results. Furthermore, the mentorship received by the faculty members helped me identify and realize that as a professional you should be so good at what you do that no one can ignore you. These learnings have really helped me shape and propel my career in the right direction.

Q)Share a few words of advice for future Great Lakers.

Don’t hesitate to experiment. You never know where your true potential lies till the time you do not move out of your silos. The one year you’ll spend at Great Lakes will expose you to many such opportunities. My advice, grab them and make the best decision about your career path and future.

Q) How do you like to spend your free time?

I like to travel and read whenever I have the luxury of time.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/adityavats/